don't worry your pretty little head about protocol, let us steer you

Just noticed the concern trolls at Mozilla took the "http" out of the new Firefox address bar.
Here is how to put it back:
At least they haven't gone full Google yet and removed the address bar altogether.
Lambs to the slaughter, people.

See also: domain helper

More Protocol Notes

...concerning Alexander Galloway's book Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization.

1.The final chapter describes old school net art or "" Essentially this developed in the mid-'90s around email lists of a few people dedicated to translating the conceptual art practices of Kosuth, LeWitt, Beuys, et al, from the gallery world to the Web--or to put it more nicely, finding/inventing these types of practices on the fly in the new medium.

2. Galloway says in the 1995-2000 period Net Art concerned "the network" and after 2000 it dealt with "software." The change resulted from the growth of the Web and increased Net speed--much of the early work (e.g., Olia Lialiana's) dealt with the klutziness and limitations of the medium. The book was published in 2004 so he doesn't really deal with blogging or the social networking/bookmarking sites.

3. Examples of '95-'00 net art are discussed. Variations on "links bounced around sites all over the world to create an invisible Beuysian social sculpture," not that different from a Tolkien or Star Trek Web Ring, but less fun. Or requests for non-existent pages sent to remote servers that have the effect of leaving messages on those servers embedded in the request--another way of creating an invisible network-on-the-network that "spatializes" the Web's connections in a quasi-sculptural way. (The latter is a piece by Electronic Disturbance Theatre or EDT.)

4. Galloway describes a late '90s conflict between EDT, which used denial of services attacks to flood servers for political protests, and another group of hacker-artists, HEART (Hackers for Electronic Arts), who wanted the Web free of such disturbances for the larger aggregation and perfection of human knowledge.

5. Galloway assumes art means conceptual, politically tinged, Hans Haacke-like art, and that in the electronic sphere it reflects self-consciously on the medium of the Net or on software. A video piece, say, conceived offline and uploaded for a simple peer-to-peer art transmission he would call "shovelware."

Conclusions to follow. (Possibly--other posts on this topic have been sprinkling in conclusions all along.)

More Protocol Notes

Some more quick responses to Alexander Galloway's book Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization (2004) (about 3/4 read, just want to jot this down before it passes out of my brain)

1. The book assumes we are post-art, that "life" has now become art, and protocol* controls both. (*TCP/IP, html, etc--the book carefully explains to the layman how all these things work and how data circulates around the Web)

2. The best discussions so far are (a) AG's sarcastic recitation of "standards of seamless continuity" (not a quote but that's the concept) that make web surfing so seductive (pp 64-69) and (b) the discussion of viruses and cyberfeminism (pp 176-196) as oppositional strategies (interesting that those are in the same chapter). Deliberately oppositional in the case of the latter and de facto oppositional in the case of the former.

3. As I mentioned in the last post I think bricks (courthouses, corporate headquarters, army bunkers) still trump clicks in our society so I wouldn't go nearly so far in ascribing to protocol the powers of social control that AG does. Also, I don't agree we are post-art, and am more interested in the ways protocol is changing existing expression, such as:
--a certain type of person thrives on TV (Chris Matthews) but is a clown in the blogosphere where his words and gestures can be unpacked. Similarly someone like Atrios wields tremendous influence as a blogger because of a certain protocological skill set (I keep reading that word as "proctological" in AG's book).
--Writers who are terse, funny, and can use images (certain bloggers) have an edge over print writers that take longer to set up a story.
--Music, also, will potentially change to an inverted pyramid form where the strongest (melodic, rhythmic) content occurs in the first 20 seconds to get the casual .mp3 surfer hooked.
--A certain kind of sculptural one-liner that looks good on the "curation sites" potentially assumes larger importance.

Since the book was written (2004) we have seen a greater retreat from the endless circularity of the open Web in favor of online gated communities where Biff and Muffy can be among their own kind and have a nice set of multiple choice options to work with (liberal, conservative, libertarian, other). This is a mass, conscious rejection of protocological (lack of) control in favor of older forms of disciplinary control (building with security cam and doorman).

More when I finish. Previous notes.

Protocol Notes

Am reading Alex Galloway's book Protocol (2004) and taking a few notes. Those below are from the introductory chapter.

[I]t is not my goal to examine the social or culturo-historical characteristics of informatization, artificial intelligence, or virtual anything, but rather to study computers as Andre Bazin studied film or Roland Barthes studied the striptease: to look at a material technology and analyze its specific formal functions or dysfunctions. (p. 18)

Deleuze: "Each kind of society corresponds to a particular type of machine--with simple mechanical machines corresponding to sovereign societies, thermodynamic machines to disciplinary societies, cybernetic machines and computers to control societies." (p. 22)

Jameson: "There have been three fundamental moments in capitalism, each one marking a dialectical expansion over the previous stage. These are market capitalism, the monopoly stage or the stage of imperialism, and our own, wrongly called postindustrial but what might better be termed multinational capital," or to use [Ernst] Mandel's terminology, late capitalism. (23-24)

My book [maps] out certain details of the third, "control society" phase, specifically the diagram of the distributed network, the technology of the computer, and the management style of protocol. (27)

Skipping ahead to the other chapters I haven't posted notes on yet: my short reading is that we are still in a Foucauldian "disciplinary society" and the Net only promises the illusion of freedom. The abuse of the Domain Name System to silence corporate critics, described in the book, and the inability to remove certain famous crooks from high office, suggest this. I am reading for Galloway's analysis of how Net protocols shape discourse (and art) but am not willing to agree that these are anything other than playground rules while adults continue to manage the home, office, and various killing grounds. --tm

Ardour's Paul Davis speaks at Linux audio event

Paul Davis, a Linux luminary who developed the JACK streaming protocol and currently works on the Ardour DAW (digital audio workstation), speaks at a conference here (video embed -- start at 2:22:32).

Worth a watch, even if it's pessimistic overall about Linux audio. On the one hand he offers a necessary reality check to open source boosterism, but on the other, he needs to insulate himself from ordinary bonehead users on forums, they are clearly wearing him down. (He's even testier on the forums.)

He makes a good point about certain types of software only being viable in the commercial realm, as opposed to the open source model. His example is Elastique Audio, a proprietary timestretching algorithm. He admits that neither Linux nor anyone else offers anything as good. It excels, he argues, because the creators spent ten years "polishing and polishing" the code. You need a promise of return, and not just the love of your peers, to do something that numbing.

At one point he muses on the types of audio users who might be drawn to Linux environment. An impetus he missed is people fleeing Apple and Windows for political and aesthetic reasons. Getting away from computer companies that trick you, spy on you, and bleed you for additional services is a strong motivator.